The Whilton Mill Kart Club season for 2021 heads into its fifth round this weekend, as the Northamptonshire circuit will see ultra-competitive fields, one of which is X Kart's Jacob Jukes, who has been making his mark this season.
We caught up with the #34 Junior Rotax driver, who heads to Daventry this weekend with a tally of 210 points so far, putting him currently as the highest-placed team member in the standings
Time to go back to Whilton this weekend, you ready to go?
It’s my favourite track, so I always love going back!
It’s your first time off novice plates, so does it feel any different heading into the weekend?
No, not really. It’ll change how we go about race day and we’ll have more of an opportunity to get towards the front, but the aim is still the same. Make up as many places in the heats as possible and get a good position for the final. This weekend looks like the strongest grid I’ve ever been on, and there’s a few guys who run in the British Champs here. It’s going to be so tough, but I can’t wait to get in amongst them!
Have you set a target for race day? Do you ever set one?
No we have never really looked at it that way. My dad never said to me you should win this or we’re going for first.
He always says: "Show your skills and maximise what is available on the day. If that’s a win then great, if third is the best we could do on the day then as long as we’ve maximised what’s available then that’s fine too."
That hasn’t really changed since I joined X Kart, we still look to take every opportunity we have and show our skills.
You’ve made your way through the grid so fast in the opening rounds - what’s your secret?
There isn’t one! We have an awesome kart so that helps, particularly when the grip levels drop. I know a few people say it’s because I grew up racing at Stretton and maybe there’s something in that.
It was so tight but fast at the same time that you had to take your chances when they came.
There’s a few drivers doing well nationally that came from Stretton, Zac, Rocco, Aaron etc. They all seem to get through traffic quickly too so maybe there is something in the Stretton theory! I’ll put in down to the X Kart mostly though.
Talking of X Kart, how have you settled into the team?
I’m loving it! With it being a new team and a new chassis to the UK, everything took time to gel together, but now it really feels like we’re going forward with good speed.
And the X Kart itself?
Well the results speak for themselves and not just my own. Kai and Will are also setting quick times and picking up good results so it’s clearly quick.
We’re understanding it a lot better now and getting it to work across all different conditions and types of circuit.
You’re the only junior this weekend for X Kart - is that in any way daunting at all?
Again no not really, it doesn’t stop me showing my skills. It will be a bit more challenging getting things set up for race day with only having one data set to work with, but we’ve got more experience at Whilton Mill than anywhere else.
Hopefully it won’t be too much of a problem. Obviously having your team mates on the grid is helpful and I’ve struck up a great relationship with Will.
We've both had to work together coming from the back. He’s so quick it pushes me to go even quicker!
And what comes after this round?
After this we go to Hooton Park for a JKC round which will be challenging, and I went there last week for the first time and it is so tight. The kart loved the track though!
Within a couple of sessions we went quicker than the guys that do it regularly and the kart was on rails. After that we go to Clay Pigeon for the Rotax Festival which I can’t wait for.
Image © Stu Stretton Photography